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February 2006
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April 2006

March 2006

Girlfriends Getaways in NYC

The approach of spring-to-summer is precisely when I start planning a girlfriends trip to New York City (and a few other cities girls love). Fortunately the Big Apple's hotels think about us, too, and have come up with some fabulous ways to spend our time and money. These packages are not for the faint of budget -- but if you've got the bucks or are resolved to put yourselves as a priority for the splurge, you go girls! Read more →


Whale-Watching in Half Moon Bay

Now is the season for whale-watching along the California coast, and easy access from San Francisco is Half Moon Bay, less than an hour away. Our excuse for a weekend getaway kept us more firmly on the shore, perched on bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. Down the highway, a true eco-tourism getaway is Costanoa resort and Pigeon Point, where you can stand on the coast and watch migrating whales. Read more →


Flying: What Happened to Manners?

We all have our miserable air travel stories -- about the passengers, not the airlines. Most of us do not desire a food court or party bus experience while we're crammed on airplanes with people we don't know. We are flying for business, or even pleasure, but we did not choose to spend our day with you -- we got are stuck with you for a few very long hours. So, mind your manners, please! Read more →


Armchair Journey with Eugene O'Neill

Eugene O'Neill has the reputation for many casual readers of literature as being dark and impenetrable, but a new Ric Burns documentary on PBS' American Masters series is a deeply absorbing experience that brings new life and understanding to one of the greatest American playwrights. The best illustration is Long Day's Journey Into Night, which bears the cumulative impact of his life's work and was produced after his death. Read more →


A Paris Oasis for Women

Hammam Pacha, an authentic women-only Maghrebi bathhouse in the northern Paris of St-Denis, attracts Parisians in-the-know for massage, waxing, body wraps, steam and more, an enterprising New York Times travel reporter discovered. Next time I'm in the area, I'll be sure to check it out on the easy trip by M├ętro Line 13. The eucalyptus-scented steam and vigorous peels are among the intense experiences that leave one pleasantly spent after a day of healthy treatments. A closing shot of mint tea is a fitting refresher. Read more →


Full Disclosure on Hotel Rates

Marriott International announced that it will inform guests of their total room price in advance -- rather than giving us surprise and extra fees added on to our bill at checkout. Marriott's "Total Tip Pricing" move puts the brakes on the hidden "resort fees" that in some hotels can amount to $10-20 each night for things you'd expect to be part of the service, like housekeeping. While certain chains have always discouraged these add-ons, travelers' complaints sparked a more direct response. Read more →